Citing Government Documents

Resources for citing federal, international and United Nations government documents.

Citing US Government Documents (Federal, State, and Local)

Many government publications originate through executive departments, federal and state agencies, and the United States Congress.  These documents are often posted without a clear indication of author, title, publisher or copyright date.  There are no hard and fast rules for citing these publications.  Look for available clues and provide as much information as possible in your chosen citation style.  The resources listed below will help create consistent citations.

Citing International Government Documents

Citation Examples

Here are some examples of frequently used government publications.  Unless otherwise noted, these citations are based largely on the style of the above linked, The Complete Guide to Citing Government Documents: A Manual for Writers & Librarians (1993).  You should also consult whatever style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) is appropriate for your project.

Annals of Congress:
Chicago style

John Adams, “President’s Speech,” 7 Annals of Cong. (May 16, 1797), 54.

42 Annals of Cong. 1697 (1824).

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):

"Rules and Regulations Governing Smithsonian Institution Buildings and Grounds," Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Pt. 504. 2012 ed.

Chicago style

U.S. Const. art. I, § 4, cl. 2.

U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 2.

Ariz. Const. art. VII, § 5.

Ark. Const. of 1868, art. III, § 2 (superseded 1874).

Federal Register:

"Odorant Fade in Railroad Tank Cars; Notice of Safety Advisory," 77 Federal Register 72 (13 April 2012), pp. 22381-22383.

Congressional Record: 

Rep. Coats (Ind.). "Hats off to IU Hoosiers," Congressional Record 133, Pt. 6 (31 Mar. 1987) p. 7336.

Serial Set:

U.S. Senate. 50th Congress, 2nd Session. Report on Indian Traderships (S.Rpt.2707). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899. (Serial Set 2623).

Chicago style Citation Quick Guide

U.S. Congress. Senate. Memorial of Victoria C. Woodhull praying the passage of a law carrying into execution the right vested by the Constitution in citizens of the United States to vote, without regard to sex. December 21, 1870. 41st Cong., 3rd sess., 1870. S. Misc. Doc. 16, serial 1442. 


U.S. House. Committee of Ways and Means. Child Care and Child Welfare Hearing, 3 February 1995. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1995. (Y4.W36:104-14)

Senate Executive Journal:
Chicago style (bibliographic style)

U.S. Congress. Senate Exec. Journal. 1st Cong., 2nd sess., 11 January 1790. (View the page cited)

House Journal:
Chicago style (author/date style)

U.S. House Journal. 1790. 1st Cong., 2nd sess., 22 January. (View the page cited)

Journals of the Continental Congress:
Chicago style (bibliographic style)

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington, D.C., 1904-37), 19:137. (View the page cited)
JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington, D.C., 1904-37), 19:137. (View the page cited)

Agency Report:
APA style

National Cancer Institute. (2019). Taking time: Support for people with cancer (NIH Publication No. 18-2059). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Agency Report:
MLA style

File, Thom. Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978-2014. United States, Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, July 2015, Accessed 12 Dec. 2017.

Chicago style

Treaty of Amity and Commerce , Prussia-U.S., Sept. 10, 1785, T.S. 292.

Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, U.S.-U.K.-U.S.S.R., Aug. 5, 1963, 14 U.S.T. 1313.


Convention Concerning Military Service, Den.-It., July 15, 1954, 250 T.I.A.S. 3516, at 45.


Treaty of Peace and Friendship, between the United States of America and the Bashaw Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, in Barbary, June 4, 1805, T.S. 359.


In-Text Citations Format


(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Year)


(Author Surname OR Name of Government Organization, Year, page number)


Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. OR Government Name. Name of Government Agency. (Year). Title: Subtitle (Report No. xxx [if available]). Publisher.

Citation Tools

Last Updated: Mar 28, 2024 11:08 AM